Parker Pen Company it’s an expert, traditional and well known fine writing instruments manufacturer based in Janesville, Wisconsin. Its founder, George Safford Parker, initiated the company’s history back in 1889 with the fountain pen patent, which would enable him three years later (1892) officially give birth to Parker Pen Company. In the earlier years of its existence, the company worried to reinforce its expertise in fine writing instruments manufacture, so that in 1920’s it was clear enough its product will be recognized as a high-quality/stylish/innovative/status symbol/ high-priced pen, thus demonstrating the company had a differentiated product that if well matched with a correspondent customer profile, it would translate in great benefits for both company and customer. The business then began to expand its market presence so that by 1980’s Parker Pen Company had extended up to 154 countries, from where we can clearly see that the long road the company had walked during the twentieth century, had already given it experience in handling international operations and a multi-national market service. By 1982, Parker Pen would embrace a new president and CEO, James R. Peterson, who would be responsible to face the challenges the environment was setting on the company: on one hand, the company felt content with the weakened dollar, given that most of the company’s sales were abroad (about 80 per cent), the profits derived from those sales represented even big profits when translated to local currency; but on the other hand, shift in the company’s market was putting some trouble to it: Japanese’s mass market, cheaper, and disposable pens were stealing attention from Parker Pen, as well as other brands as Paper Mate, Bic, Pilot, and Pentel, which cost market share to the company. Likewise front-line competition as A.T. Cross and Montblanc was becoming fiercer against Parker Pen. The latter, conjugated with the struggle of the company to maintain and increase market share, and a tempting new trend (globalization movement at its primitive consolidations) environment, were about to translate in a company’s new strategy to grow and maintain a competitive advantage overtime. Confident in its expertise and experience, the company launched in 1984 a global marketing campaign as a response to its intention of becoming a global company, campaign, that reflected the significant changes in the organizational structure (now to be centralized as decision making would take place at headquarters) and the operational process as well (marketing and selling efforts would be standardized in every single country they were in), what was highly impressive if we consider that prior to the planning and execution of the global strategy, subsidiaries abroad were highly autonomous in marketing operations and around 40 advertising agencies managed Parker Pen’s account, and subsequent, only one agency, Ogilvy & Mather, was in charge of the worldwide marketing effort. All the changes made correspond to a cost savings effort worldwide in order to facilitate the coordination of strategies globally. Did the Parker Pen’s Global strategy implementation worked? No, it didn’t, in February 1985 it was ended with disastrous results for those responsible of the strategy’s planning. Characters involved:
George Safford Parker (founder of Parker Pen Company, creative, inventive, developer of the first founting pen in 1889) Parker Pen Company’s manager (established the products differentiation features and the market value offer for Parker Pen Company’s products: innovative, stylish, high-status symbol, high-priced pens); Those in charge of the development of the standardization strategy (fired because of their lack of judgment when approaching a standardized marketing and sales global strategy); James R. Peterson (president and CEO of Parker Pen, responsible for the planning and execution of the global strategy. Visionary, he wanted to become...
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